Lovely Rita (Lennon/McCartney)

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Lovely Rita (Lennon/McCartney)

One of Paul’s friends from America was visiting and saw a female traffic warden, which were new in Britain, and commented on the “meter maids.” Paul was amused with the term and wrote a song about it. He originally intended for it to be a hate song, but thought it would be more amusing if the singer was in love with her – in exchange for dismissal of the ticket.

The real meter maid?

Years after the song was released a woman named Meta Davies claimed the song was inspired by her writing a ticket for a P McCartney. When Paul came out he asked if Meta Davies was her real name, and when she replied that it was he asked if he could use it in a song. This is unlikely, as the song was recorded in February and Davies recalls the incident happening that spring, and the exchange is generally regarded as Paul just being friendly.

The half million dollar Conan appearance

In 2010, Lovely Rita was used as the walk-out song for Tom Hanks (whose wife’s name is Rita) on the final episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Roots drummer Questlove tweeted, “yo i hate spoiling but i will have you know that walk on song we just heard was half a milli. i know cause i got the list rate at nbc…tom’s walkon music on conan is on my “restricted” list—wow a $500,000 walkon song lol.”

In reality the use of the song cost far less thanks to a “blanket license” between NBC and music publishers, but any use in a commercial or scripted show does indeed cost north of $500,000.


“It was in the spring of 1967 that I ticketed Paul’s car. He was on a meter showing excess, so I gave him a ten-shilling ticket…I’d just put it on the windscreen when Paul came along and took it off. He looked at it and read my signature which was in full, because there was another M. Davies on the same unit. As he was walking away, he turned to me and said, ‘Oh, is your name really Meta?’ I told him that it was. We chatted for a few minutes and he said, ‘That would be a good name for a song. Would you mind if I use it?’ And that was that. Off he went…Then, a few months later, I heard ‘Lovely Rita’ on the radio…I was never a Beatles’ fan but you couldn’t help hearing their music. My own daughter used to wait outside the Abbey Road Studios to see them!” – Meta Davies

“It wasn’t based on a real person but, as often happened, it was claimed by a girl called Rita who was a traffic warden who apparently did give me a ticket, so that made the newspapers. I think it was more a question of coincidence: anyone called Rita who gave me a ticket would naturally think, ‘It’s me!’ I didn’t think, Wow, that woman give me a ticket, I’ll write a song about her – never happened like that.” – Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now


  • Paul McCartney – lead and backing vocal, piano, bass guitar, comb and tissue paper
  • John Lennon – backing vocal, vocal percussion, acoustic rhythm guitar, comb and tissue paper
  • George Harrison – backing vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar, comb and tissue paper
  • Ringo Starr – drums, comb and tissue paper
  • George Martin – piano solo

Release history

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